The power of “thank you”

November 4, 2020
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA

dvm360, dvm360 October 2020, Volume 51, Issue 10

Gratitude should never be forgotten or underestimated.

It’s wonderful that we have a week celebrating veterinary technicians and other support team members. National Veterinary Technician Week may be over, but I want to say thank you to the veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, groomers, daycare workers, client service representatives, hospital managers, and more for all your incredibly hard but rewarding work. This year has been volatile, uncertain, and incredibly busy for all of us in the veterinary profession. Every day presents a new kind of obstacle for our teams, yet we manage to adapt and adjust what we do for the good of patient care and client service.

I was recently on a farm filming a video for the virtual daycare at our fall Fetch dvm360 virtual conference (November 12-14) when I observed 2 toddlers who didn’t know one another feeding snacks to the goats. When 1 girl ran out of treats for the goats, the other girl noticed and yelled over (masked and socially distant), “I’ll share some of mine with you!” The girl with no treats in her hand fiddled with her mask and muffled out, “Thank you!” I complimented both parents and told them how meaningful it was to witness that. I cracked up laughing when both sets of parents’ responded: “We work very hard on that. They’re having a good day...for now!”

Nothing makes me happier than receiving a handwritten thank-you card from a client. It might be a simple “thank you for fitting us in last week” or “thank you for being so good to Oliver all these years.” When I receive them, frankly, I’m startled. Do I deserve the thank you? And then I stop and think: Yes, we deserve the thank you.

You and your hospital team work tirelessly to make sure your patients are well cared for and free of pain and suffering. Those 2 simple words create such a positive ripple effect for anyone who hears or reads them. As we approach the holidays during this pandemic, it is more important than ever to go the extra mile and thank someone who has done something big or small for you either in or out of the clinic.

My parents taught me early on that giving thanks to the people in my life will open the door to receiving thanks in return. Gratitude should never be forgotten or underestimated. The feeling of appreciation—whether it comes at the end of a shift, in a Zoom meeting, or in an exam room—allows us to continue to make an impact in our profession. Even when I am euthanizing a dog, for example, I thank the pet for all the love and memories it has provided for its family and ours over the years. Doing so allows me to continue to stay true to my oath of veterinary service. Thank your fellow colleagues, including your referral veterinarians. We are all part of this great team and profession, trying to work our way through this pandemic and strive for success. It’s not easy out there, but having colleagues show their thanks and gratitude helps make it all worth it. So, hang in there, and thank you for all you do.

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